Malt machinations decided for next year’s harvest

MALT barley segregations for Maximus CL are set to be available in some form in every Western Australian port zone, except Geraldton, for the 2022/23 harvest. The Grains Industry Association of Western Australia’s (GIWA) barley council officially finalised the malt barley variety receival recommendations for next year’s harvest earlier this month.

Other notable changes for 2022/23 include Bass and Flinders being removed from the offerings in the vast majority of areas, with the former set to only be offered as a limited segregation in Kwinana North and South and the latter only in Albany South and Esperance. La Trobe will move from a limited to a niche segregation across all areas, except for Geraldton where it will not be offered at all.

GIWA barley council chairman and Beaumont grower Lyndon Mickel said grower production of Bass, Flinders and La Trobe was declining. “Bass and Flinders are both, however, considered as significant varieties for malting and brewing end-use in South East Asia and Japan as they can be malted without the use of additives and are well-known by the market,” Mr Mickel said. “However, should market demand not result in an attractive malt premium over the subsequent two harvests, the decline in production of Bass and Flinders will increase in pace. “La Trobe has been the preferred variety for the manufacture of shochu in Japan for the past five years, however as previously indicated in the 2021/22 recommendations, La Trobe will no longer be a segregated variety after the 2022/23 harvest.”

Spartacus CL and RGT Planet dominate the production area sown to barley in WA. There is a continued demand for RGT Planet from global malting and brewing customers who accredited the variety from European-sourced production. On the other hand, Spartacus CL, while popular with the Australian brewing industry, does not have the same level of international market recognition, but it is now an approved variety for shochu manufacture following the lifting of Japan’s maximum residue limit for imazapyr from 0.01 to 0.7 parts per million in early 2021.

International sales of Spartacus CL for malting and brewing include regional Asian beer brands and brewing opportunities in central and southern America (Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru). Ms Mickel said three new varieties – Leabrook, LG Alestar and Maximus CL – were accredited in March 2021 by Barley Australia as being suitable for malting and brewing. “Of these three varieties, only Maximus CL will be segregated in WA for the 2022/23 harvest as the area sown to Maximus CL will start increasing in 2022 at the expense of Spartacus CL,” he said.

“During this transition, market development will be critical to securing Maximus CL as a preferred variety. “Segregation opportunities for Bass, Flinders, La Trobe, Maximus CL, RGT Planet, and Spartacus CL vary by port zone across WA and within a port zone for the Kwinana and Albany Ports.”

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